A coalition of some 14 NYC advocacy groups (including: Change The Stakes, Class Size Matters, Coalition for Public Education (CPE), Community Education Council 14, El Puente, Independent Commission on Public Education (ICOPE), La Fuente, Local 32BJ, Metallic Lathers & Reinforcing Ironworkers-Local 46, NYC Kids PAC, NYC Parents Union, Parents To Improve School Transportation (PIST), Transit Forward and TWU Local 100) had a NYC mayoral forum on education moderated by Juan Gonzalez (NY Daily News and Democracy Now!) and tried to nail down all candidates for mayor to very specific promises regarding our schools. A bold move--get them on record! Tell them you will hold them to it later.
Quinn and Weiner didn't bother to show. Neither did the Republican candidates Catsimitidis, Lhota, and McDonald. I should note that Quinn has a pretty bad record about showing up to public forums like this. It is almost as if she has no interest in meeting the public! Now I expect a disdain for voters and for education from the Republicans, but Quinn should know better! As a latecomer in the race I am willing to cut Weiner a little slack...he is still getting his campaign up and running now that he is rising to the occasion of running for mayor (he will NEVER escape the jokes!). But bottom line is it looks bad when so many organizations get together to hold a forum on one of the most important issues to parents in NYC and a candidate doesn't show.
Regarding those who bothered to show, here is how the coalition ranked the candidates based on the promises they were willing to publicly make on education related issues on the spot:
An informal calculation made at the forum shows these results: Liu and Gronowicz got perfect scores of 100%, Salgado 87%, Albanese 73%, de Blasio 60%, Carrion 50%, and Thompson 33%.Just so everyone knows the players (since it has become a crowded field) here are the party affiliations of the invited candidates, whether they attended or not:
Sal Albanese (D), Adolfo Carrion (I), John Catsimatidis (R), Bill DeBlasio (D), Anthony Gronowicz (G), Joseph Lhota (R), John Liu (D), George McDonald (R), Christine Quinn (D), Erick Salgado (D), William Thompson (D), and Anthony Weiner (D).I have met Albanese, de Blasio, Liu, Thompson and Weiner and can comment on them. My wife has met Quinn and I can pass on her comments there. The others I have not met.
More details below:
The highlight...: All the candidates promised to commit to specific class size reduction goals by the end of their first term, and if necessary, to raise revenue to meet them. All the candidates also promised to stop sharing personal student information with inBloom and other corporations, without full parental notification and consent.You can find video of the forum here: http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/...
The most contentious issues -- predictably -- related to Mayoral control, governance and parent empowerment. Only Liu, Gronowicz and Salgado agreed to give up three of their appointments on the Panel for Education Policy to representatives who would be elected by parents, though Thompson said he would give up two of his seats. DeBlasio and Thompson also opposed giving Community Education Councils the authority to approve co-locations and school closings, though they said they would listen to CECs for advisory input...
Another contentious issue related to require charter schools that are housed in DOE facilities to pay rent; Albanese, Carrion and Thompson said they would not require this.
A preliminary compilation of the answers each ATTENDING candidate gave for pubic consumption (and on which the above rankings are based) on the forum's questionnaire can be found here (PDF). No partial credit to those who didn't attend!